Essential but Disposable Labour: Migrant Workers Exploited in Canada
Migrant workers are a vital part of Canada. For decades they have kept Canada’s economy moving by performing essential work. Yet they are treated as disposable.
In this podcast, we will hear from migrant workers, in their own words, about the conditions they face in Canada. Policy experts and service providers will also share their insights and experiences.
Episode 3: Packing Hope in a Bag
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In this episode, Elizabeth and Jesson Reyes from the Migrant Resource Centre Canada and Migrante Ontario share the story of migrants leaving their families and communities behind in order to survive.
This installment focuses on the Philippines and the economic and political situation pushing people to migrate. It also highlights Canada’s role in this displacement and human suffering.
Episode 3 Transcript [PDF]
Migrant Resource Centre Canada
Our theme music is Whir, by Bio Unit.
This podcast is funded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.
Episode 2: The Permanence of Temporariness, Racism of the Canadian Labour Migration Programs
In this episode, Fay Faraday discusses the racism interwoven into the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, one of the several Labour Migration Programs allowing workers worldwide to be hired by Canadian employers. Touching on the history of the TFWP and Canadian immigration laws, Fay highlights how racist and unjust policies legislate migrant workers into exploitation.
Episode 2 Transcript [PDF]
Support the work and actions of the Migrant Rights Network.
Fay Faraday is a human rights lawyer and associate professor at Osgoode Hall. She has written extensively on the precarious conditions created and perpetuated by Canadian policy, notably the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Some of her research work can be found here.
Episode 1: Denied by Design
In this episode, Gabriel Allahdua, an activist, author, and former agricultural migrant worker, joins host Sarah Guinta to discuss the racism of Canadian immigration policies that deny the humanity of migrant workers. In the face of these challenges, migrant workers are organizing and resisting, working for systemic change.
Migrant workers, especially those funneled through the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, are excluded from basic freedoms Canadians have and value. They are excluded from freely changing employers or reuniting with their families while working in Canada.
Gabriel’s book Harvesting Freedom can be ordered by clicking here or from other bookstores.
Open Work Permits Now Campaign
Tkaronto has been a home to many nations since time immemorial. These include the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit.
These nations were harmed by the arrival of European settlers who have systematically tried to erase these Indigenous communities and their teachings.
Colonialism and racism are deeply entrenched in the Canadian state. Collaborative Network to End Exploitation strives to decolonize our work and make a positive contribution to the reconciliation process.
We acknowledge the labour and sacrifices of poor and racialized workers on the lands known as Canada. This nation’s settler colonial history includes, among others, the exploited labour of:
- Over 200 years of enslaved African and Indigenous peoples.
- Chinese workers forced to pay a head tax to come and perform work considered too dangerous for Canadian workers.
- Agricultural and other migrant workers indentured to their employers with closed-work permits.
These and other violent practices allowed Canada to accumulate wealth and power. Canada continues to profit from the historic and ongoing exploitation of poor and racialized people. CNEE is committed to redressing this legacy.